To be a criminal is not soley a matter of self determination, no more than being homeless is. It is accompanied with a lack of social responsibility as well. Almost no one randomly wakes up and says “I just want to commit crimes for a living.” No.
Illegal acts are social dilemmas, mostly committed in states of distress, where individuals are seeking immediate relief from very present, very persistent problems. In this search, they make grave mistakes, sometimes harming others… inconsiderate of others, because of the apparent lack of consideration for them by others. The pressures and problems they face are less likely of their own making. Crime on a large scale is a societal problem that plagues the impoverished. A problem few of our leaders see fit to impute upon the victims or simply ignore.
Where the jurisdiction of social responsibility ends, the choice of an individual to select a destiny of their choosing must take precedence. The identity of a criminal must be shed, because a criminal is not what you are just because a crime is what you’ve committed. In opposition, society’s inclination to be “tough on crime” and continue to demonize those who (for the most part) are victims of society’s failures, does not allow for such realization. Truth is, society has had a great hand in trapping millions of people into the role of the “criminal.” Showing them that their lives are less and beyond redemption; that their existence does not amount above the mistakes they have made.
The abolishment of parole and the reluctance to restore it, along with the restriction of earned sentence credits disregards the practice of incentive as a means of enforcing ethical behavior. In fact, it enforces the idea that no matter your behavior, your lot in life is unchangeable, breeding despair and further instilling the persona of the criminal.
To be a criminal is not a crime, it is merely a product of an imperfect society, but to remain one is. To assume that this problem is definite is a grave injustice that stands to keep destroying countless lives and stagnating the evolution of society as a whole…
“Education is our passport to the future.” -El Hajj Malik El Shabazz
Education isn’t just what we learn in a formal setting such as a classroom, in fact the lessons we actually hold onto the most and build off of are those we experience and or learn on our own, not those we are taught in a formal setting.
Human intellectual development depends on problem solving using what we learn from two sources; Nurture and Nature… Our future is determined by how well we are able to identify, extract, and use the lessons from each of those experiences. Our ancestors captors went to great lengths to keep them (and us) ignorant because they understood that ignorance breeds dependency.
No people solely dependant on another can ever be in control of their own future.
– Sincere Born Allah, #1131459, Nottoway Correctional Center
Peace Kings and Queens of the universe. I enter your ultimate atmosphere as God of the Universe in the name of Allure The Seer of Truth God. My prominent black history figure and quote from this magnificent woman is my Old earth (Mother).
She said to me when I was younger: “Being different is not a curse, it’s a gift…” The science of those words registered immediately and became instictive, also natural. Because when one is considered different, it starts to raise more answers rather than questions. Due to the fact that when the masses see you, they might say, “oh thats Allure.” Your name is known before you even told them. Why? Because you are different.
Straight and to the point.
I wanna give special praise to Q., the founder of this genious idea and platform for us to share our thoughts on. Peace and much respect.
“Without a foe a soldier never knows his strength, and thought must be developed by the exercise of strength.” by Prophet Noble Drew Ali, born Timothy Drew, the founder of the first Islamic sect to ever appear in North America. The Moorish Science Temple of America 1913 a.d.
Man has the power or ability to either make or damage his future. Noble Drew Ali brought official Moorish literature for his people, which he said had a saving power. The instructions he brought is likened to tools and the mind is the workshop where the tools are being used to build character and to shape our conduct.
Today, we are faced with many foes. We are fighting against social and racial injustice, a covid-19 pandemic that has claimed approximately 500,000 lives, and an opioid overdose epidemic that has claimed live’s all over the world. These foes have to be conquered through thought activity. Noble Drew Ali said: if I can get you Moors to think, you can save yourself. The brain is a muscle and in order to strengthen that muscle, it has to constantly be exercised. Knowledge is gained from experience, and experience is what gives you the mental fortitude to be able to learn from those experiences and become a better person. After all is said and done, this experience will strengthen your will and will prepare you to stand firm in the face of future adversity. Thought is the cause of it all. As above so below, we create our own circumstances and conditions through thought, we create our own heaven and hell. How you respond in the face of adversity determines whether or not you will grow from that experience. A lesson is to be learned from every situation whether good or bad. A fool is content in his folly but out of the bad a wiseman find means of good.
My name is Antoinne Pitt and I’m from Portsmouth, VA. I am a rapper, singer, songwriter and the author of Thinking With A Purpose and C.O.A.T (Countering Overdoses and Addiction Treatment). You can log on to www.infinitypublicationsllc.net and click on ‘author’ to see my bio. You can also sign my change.org petition as well check out my interview on Real Prison Talk Facebook live page and ‘From Prison To Promise’ podcast. Super School Heroes children’s book trilogy will be out in the near future. In closing, true freedom is reached only when the mind is freed of all mental restraints.
“Pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses our self understanding” -Kahlil Gibran
Holy scriptures tell us that suffering is ordained… so the context of this quote isn’t just physical.
Pain is nature’s character builder. For anyone that has ever broken a bone, we learn a very valuable lesson about our physical limitations and how to better respect that limit. We also learn that as a result of that break, our bone grows back stronger. The same goes for mental and emotional anguish… Human history teaches us we all have the power and ability to adapt and overcome… How well we do either of those things depends on the strength of our individual will…
Pain essentially peels back our layers and exposes us to ourselves so that we can better understand ourselves.
My name is Shaveek Pittman and I am currently in Lawrenceville Correctional Center. I lived in Fredericksburg, Virginia for about 5 or 6 years. I have had quite a few different experiences since moving to VA from New Jersey, and this is why I can relate so well to this quote from Malcolm X that I chose for this assignment.
This quote from Malcolm X that I chose says: “It is only after the deepest darkness, that the greatest joy can come; it is only after slavery and prison, that the sweetest appreciation can come.”
It is self explanatory what is being said here, but still so many people feel as though they can understand what prisoners, minorities and everyone else suffering from some form of poverty are going through – simply because they read a book or heard about it from another source. The truth is: unless you have fallen under this category yourself, it is highly unlikely that you will ever truly understand the struggle that those who are at the bottom of society must endure.
For all of those people who can relate to these difficult circumstances, the meaning of this quote brings us hope to keep pushing forward, because your time of success and liberation are inevitable. It may be difficult to see this through the thick darkness that permeates the world we live in, but all it takes is just a little patience, a little perseverance and every step of the way becomes much clearer.
This invisible line we have drawn between the upper class and the lower classes is totally dependent on the lower class’ willingness to subject ourselves to the ways of the world. For example, there are many blacks who would agree that in terms of jobs and careers, we will always get “the short end of the stick,” unless we are privileged enough to be given an opportunity to establish ourselves in this corporate America.
The problem with this outlook will always be that – until we understand that this country was built on freedom, justice and equality, there will continue to be roadblocks everywhere we go. These roadblocks may have been set up in the interests of those who seek to control the masses, but it’s actually an indicator that we all do not have to walk the same paths in order to be prosperous and to free ourselves from whatever obstacles stand in our way.
– Shaveek Pittman Contributing Writer | Fredericksburg, Virginia #1870834
Happy 1-year anniversary to Brilliancebehindbars.com! A year ago, we at set out on a journey to show society that incarcerated individuals were living, breathing, thinking human-beings, full of latent potential and intellectual prowess. Since then, our country has experienced the worst of it’s times. It has been hit with a highly contagious and deadly pandemic and governmental upheaval, widening the gap across race and political lines… but our mission to humanize and secure scholarships for incarcerated citizens has not slowed in stride…
Within this very month, we honor Martin Luther King Jr. and in our own special way, we show our respects by reviving our original assignment, our premiere event: Black America Inside-Out…
Participants from Lawrenceville, as well as other Virginia facilities, are to select a quote from a prominent black American figure, past or present, and write a paragraph or two about that quote and its relevance to the situation we face in this country now.
Multiple entries are encouraged and like always, do not forget to include your name, the city you’re from, and any other efforts (projects you’re involved in, books/pieces you’ve written, etc.) that you might want to incorporate for additional exposure. We are trying to shine a light on YOU and this is a platform of the people and by the people, so go hard!
With great love and respect for each and everyone of you, BrillianceBehindBars Creator, Quadaire Patterson
“Freedom is never given voluntarily by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” -MLK
The origin of oppression has always eluded me… why does the oppressor oppress? Why does the oppressed accept the circumstances enforced by the oppressor?
As opposed to a condition of nature – for animals do not share in unoriented oppression beyond survival – I feel as if oppression (the deliberate and willful use of power to deject the progress of an individual or group of persons) is a common condition of human folly. A compensatory action of fearful emotions. The oppressors fear the image of their own perceived inadequacy – and to reinstate to themselves a perception of strength, they choose already disadvantaged victims to afflict upon, reinforcing an illusionary form of power. This process is not only fallacious for the oppressor, it is just as so for the oppressed.
When oppression is prevalent, it is so because the oppressed subscribe to a fallacy. That fallacy is one that promotes a dominance held by one over another. This allows the oppressed to accept what they believe to be a matter of fate rather than one of self determination. Forfeiture of will, the core of the human spirit immobilizes the oppressed and empowers the oppressor… oppression germinates in fear and thrives in despair.
In the past it took the form of physical slavery. Now, it has a more subtle body. Distrust in political processes, or a form of systemic slavery. The oppressed today in America are the dejected men and women who disregard political activism as a means of bettering the state and quality of their lives. The oppressor will not willingly give up even a grand figment of power for a minuet reality of powerlessness. It goes against the very nature that breeds it. But the oppressed have a choice… a choice to grab hold of self-determination and free themselves from the illusion of powerlessness.
But this is a CHOICE, unprovoked by the oppressor, that must be decided for one’s self…
– Quadaire Patterson, VADOC #1392272, From Virginia Beach, VA
“You can jail the revolutionary, but you can’t jail the revolution.” – Huey P. Newton
It’s a scientific fact that energy cannot be destroyed. It only transfers or transforms… Pertaining to the quote above, the body of a revolutionary can be contained, but the spirit of the revolution can not be bound.
Today, the spirit of the revolution is as pervasive as ever. While countless bodies are confined to prisons, the spirit of freedom is leading the movement against mass incarceration in the land of the free. In this sense, the flames of the revolution are only stoked as more bodies of men and women find themselves on the darker side of social disparity.
The revolutionary of ‘then’ are the freedom fighters of now. Prevalent and pervasive the spirit of the revolution is uncaged. Now, more of the American people are imbued with this spirit, and the revolution has taken on a form better fit for a nation centered on the virtue of freedom. Long live the revolution… long live freedom.
– Quadaire Patterson, VADOC #1392272, From Virginia Beach, VA
“You, Hannibal, know how to win battles. But you do not know how to use your victories.” – Maharbal, Numidian Cavalryman Commander
The above quote is a portion of a conversation help between Hannibal, the Supreme Commander of Carthaginian Army and the captain of his Numidian Calvary. Hannibal has just handed the Romans their most devastating defeat at the Battle of Cannae and Maharbal was eager to ride ahead to the gates of Rome. But instead, Hannibal chose to enjoy the moment and celebrate his victory. Nevertheless, this African general was a military genius and one of the world’s greatest military leaders. In fact, the strategies he used during his 16 year war with Rome are currently being studied by military cadets in academies all over the world.
This battle was fought in Cannae, Italy in the summer of 216 B.C. However, it is still a relevant piece of black history today. Because like Hannibal, Black people in America have also won many battles. We have won battles against slavery and segregation. We have won battles for civil rights, voting rights, and even the battle to get Barack Obama into the White House. Yet, today, black men are still disproportionally living in handcuffs and chains. Black women are still overworked and underpaid. Black children are still receiving sub-standard educations when compared to their white counterparts. Regardless of how many battles we won, every black generation after Hannibal has lost the war – simply because we have yet to learn how to use our victories.
– Lord Serious Hakim Allah / J. Boughton Jr., Chesapeake, VA #1404741
Author of “Apotheosis Lord Serious Hakim Allah’s Habeas Corpus Appeal” and “The Powerless Pinky” both are available on Amazon.com. You can email him at: IamLordserious@gmail.com.